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Making a Living as an Artist

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Making a Living as an Artist

Before Talking Making a Living as an Artist, Lets First Look into Art Business

Art business refers to the commercial aspects of the art industry, encompassing the buying, selling, and promotion of artworks. It involves various entities such as artists, galleries, collectors, auction houses, art fairs, online platforms, and art consultants. The art business plays a crucial role in facilitating the exchange of artworks, supporting artists’ careers, and shaping the art market.

Artists rely on the art business to promote and sell their artwork, establish their reputation, and sustain their livelihoods. They create original artworks that reflect their creative vision and style. Galleries and dealers play a vital role in representing artists and showcasing their works to potential buyers. They curate exhibitions, market the artworks, negotiate sales, and provide artists with valuable exposure and networking opportunities.

Collectors and art enthusiasts are essential participants in the art business. They purchase artworks for personal enjoyment, investment, or both. Art collectors often build extensive collections, supporting artists by acquiring their works and contributing to their recognition and financial success.

Auction houses are another significant component of the art business. They facilitate the sale of artworks through public auctions, attracting bidders and setting prices based on competitive bidding. Auctions can be an effective platform for artists to gain visibility, as well as for collectors and investors to acquire valuable and sought-after artworks.

Art fairs bring together galleries, artists, collectors, and art enthusiasts in a dedicated event where artworks are exhibited and sold. These events provide a concentrated platform for networking, discovering new talent, and engaging with the art market on a larger scale.

Online platforms have revolutionized the art business by providing a global reach and accessibility. Websites, online galleries, and art marketplaces allow artists to showcase and sell their works to a wider audience, connecting buyers and sellers from different parts of the world. Online platforms have democratized the art market to some extent, allowing emerging artists to gain exposure and find new opportunities.

Art consultants and advisors provide expertise and guidance to collectors and individuals interested in buying or investing in art. They offer services such as art valuations, collection management, and acquisition advice, helping clients navigate the complex art market and make informed decisions.

The art business is influenced by various factors, including market trends, economic conditions, cultural shifts, and the reputation and demand for specific artists and art movements. Art businesses must adapt to changing dynamics and embrace digital technologies to stay relevant in an increasingly global and competitive art market.

Overall, the art business is a multifaceted industry that brings together artists, collectors, galleries, auction houses, and online platforms to facilitate the creation, sale, and appreciation of artworks. It combines artistic creativity with commerce, providing a platform for artists to showcase their talents and for art enthusiasts to engage with and acquire artworks that resonate with them.

Making a Living as an Artist: My Journey and Advice

Introduction: In this article, I will share my personal journey of how I make a living as an artist. However, it’s important to note that my path is not the only way to achieve this. There are numerous other paths you can explore. I encourage you to seek inspiration and advice from various sources. Alongside my experiences, I will also provide recommendations for other resources and individuals who have valuable insights into different artistic journeys.

Background: I am currently 46 years old and have been pursuing art part-time for the past several years while simultaneously being a part-time online worker towards  trying to make ends meet. Let me share a little about my beginnings to provide context for my journey and how things unfolded.

At the age of 19, I found myself unsure about my life’s direction while attending Y.M.C.A College. Living with my parents at the time, I had minimal responsibilities aside from my studies. This gave me ample free time, and being an avid internet user later in life, I discovered artists like Katarikawe’s paintings and Leonardo da Vinci‘s works of art. Observing their creative processes and how they worked as artists, particularly in terms of creating products for sale, inspired me greatly.

Having already created my first website, which primarily focused on online business, I started to feel a bit fatigued and little bit passionate about it. Thus, I decided to venture into contemporary art and create my own pieces. Motivated by this new sub-direction, I invested in learning new art techniques, and painting tools and materials. Despite taking a year or so to gain confidence in my contemporary art skills, I eventually launched my online store. In the first year, I made approximately a few sales, which was a modest start. Though I didn’t envision it growing as significantly as it did, my primary goal was to have fun. It was during the 2020 pandemic when my art-related to my online venture, particularly art blogs, unexpectedly went viral, paving the way for my current endeavors.

Please note that while my journey serves as an example, it is crucial to remember that there are various ways to achieve success as an artist. Now, let’s delve into running my online store, as well as discussing my other sources of income.

Setting Goals: To begin, it’s essential to establish your goals. Even though my initial goal was not to build a large-scale business or solely depend on it for a living, I unintentionally set a goal to have fun and explore creating cute African contemporary art. I recommend setting both long-term and short-term goals. While long-term goals, such as sustaining a living from art or building a substantial company, require several years to achieve, it is equally vital to set multiple short-term goals. Setting short-term goals ensures a sense of progress and prevents discouragement when the long-term goals seem distant. Avoid setting unrealistic expectations, such as aiming for a thousand sales within the first six months. While such achievements are possible, it is crucial to strike a balance between challenging yourself and maintaining a realistic perspective.

Starting Small: When initiating your artistic journey, I suggest starting small and within your means. During my early stages, I focused on creating handmade items and didn’t venture into manufacturing until about a year later. By producing my own art, and prints.  I minimized initial investment costs. Shipping supplies were the primary expenses. Starting small allowed me to create limited quantities of each product, typically ranging from five to twenty items.

Making a living as an artist can be a challenging yet fulfilling journey.

It requires dedication, creativity, perseverance, and a strategic approach to building your career. Here is some advice to help you navigate the path of becoming a professional artist and earning a living from your art:

Hone Your Craft

Continuously work on developing your artistic skills and style. Dedicate time to practice, experiment with different techniques and mediums, and push your creative boundaries. The more proficient and unique your artwork becomes, the better your chances of standing out in the competitive art market.

Define Your Artistic Identity

Take the time to define your artistic identity and establish a clear artistic vision. What themes, subjects, or styles do you want to explore? Understanding your unique voice and artistic direction will help you build a cohesive body of work and attract a specific audience.

Build a Portfolio

Create a professional portfolio that showcases your best and most representative artwork. Your portfolio should demonstrate your range of skills, artistic evolution, and consistency. Include high-quality images of your art and consider creating an online portfolio or website to showcase your work to a broader audience.

Network and Collaborate

Engage with the artistic community by attending art events, exhibitions, workshops, and networking opportunities. Build relationships with fellow artists, art collectors, gallery owners, and industry professionals. Collaboration with other artists can open doors to new opportunities and expand your reach.

Establish an Online Presence

In today’s digital age, having a strong online presence is crucial. Create profiles on social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter to share your art, engage with your audience, and connect with potential buyers. Consider selling your artwork through online platforms or setting up an e-commerce store on your website.

Explore Various Sales Channels

Diversify your sales channels to reach a wider audience. Besides traditional art galleries, explore online marketplaces, art fairs, pop-up exhibitions, and local art shows. Consider licensing your art for merchandise, collaborating with brands, or offering art classes or workshops to generate additional income streams.

Pricing and Selling Your Art

Determine the value of your artwork by considering factors such as size, complexity, medium, your reputation, and market demand. Research the prices of similar artworks by artists in your niche and set your prices accordingly. Be open to negotiation but also ensure you’re compensated fairly for your time, effort, and talent.

Marketing and Promotion

Develop a marketing strategy to promote your artwork effectively. Utilize social media, your website, email newsletters, and art publications to showcase your art, share your artistic process, and engage with your audience. Consider collaborating with influencers or partnering with local businesses to expand your reach.

Professionalism and Business Skills

Treat your art practice as a business and develop essential business skills. This includes maintaining organized records of your artwork, expenses, and sales, understanding contracts and agreements, managing inventory, and effectively communicating with clients and gallery owners.

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